Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

I, like most, absolutely love my iPhone. And I mean, my love for my iPhone is absolute. Total. All-encompassing. That said, we all find ourselves noticing little imperfections, even in our very most favoritest thing in the whole wide world.

For example, I love to play my mp3s or listen to audio streams using the iPhone speaker. Hearkens back to my first years with a handheld transistor radio. Sometimes I put it up on the counter while cooking, or doing laundry, or even just sitting in the backyard, watching the evening sky unfurl. Sure, I could use headphones, and I do on occasion, but I'm getting older and my hearing is going and I know that I need to cut back on extended exposure to loud noises. The speaker at the bottom of the iPhone isn't awesome or even comparative to even the cheapest headphones. However, for me, better to have one more day of mediocre audio than one more day of no audio at all.

So I walk around with my iPhone blaring Monk or Mingus or Dylan or John Abercrombie (who I'm listening to as I type these words). And I dig it, no question. Certainly enhances my enjoyment of otherwise mind-numbing chores. However, the speaker on my iPhone is tiny, and is not in any way intended for really listening to music. It's built for hearing alert sounds, like an incoming text message or the ring of the phone or the beep from a calendar alert. So when I'm using this speaker to listen to music, it's kinda sorta barely acceptable. Like an old AM radio. If I turn my audiophile dial way, way down, the speaker isn't awful, and I can just enjoy the tunes, like the summers of my youth.

Of course, there are lots of viable options if I want to buy an external speaker system for my iPhone. But I'm notoriasly cheap on myself, a continual guilt over the slightest purchase that I make for myself. So even the Altec Lansing Orbit, the cheapest of iPhone Speakers ($10 at MacMall) is just too much for me. It seems selfish to me somehow. (Hi, welcome to my insanity - jump in, the water's warm.)

But, wait, there's hope! It turns out that I was able to think of a super-cheap alternative, one that increases the sound quality of the iPhone speaker by at least 100%. What is it, you ask? Why, it's a three-inch terra cotta flower pot.

Yes indeed, this little miracle, sitting around our bathroom, empty, is now serving as a solid audio booster, adding depth, breadth, and timbre to the soundtrack of my life. I simply load up a music stream or hit play on my iPod, and then simply slide the iPhone, upright, into the empty flower pot. Instant audio improvement! And the best part? You can buy a three or four-inch terra cotta pot from the local Home Depot for eighty-seven cents. Nice!

Now, I'm sure I'm not the first to figure this out. But I haven't run across this hack before, so I figured I'd throw it out there, 'cause there could be somebody else out there looking to improve their iPod audio without spending real money. Of course, I feel it necessary to say this: If you are cheaping out on yourself like I am, stop it. It's ok to buy yourself a new speaker system (or whatever). You're worth it, go spend the money on yourself, you're a good person and you deserve it.

    "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."
    -Stuart Smalley


Doug said...

Too funny, I just saw a $40 plastic stand that you rest the iPhone in to improve the audio. It's a passive device; basically a sound horn. I like the terracota pot idea better. Sweet! I think I may experiment with all sorts of containers around the house now. Thanks for putting this out there!

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Suldog said...

So, let me get this straight. This thing of which you speak is some sort of device you listen to music on while in your bathroom? What will they think of next?!? :-)

James Cooper said...

Nicely done. When eating lunch at the office I often watch videos on Ye Olde Youtube and I do something similar but likely not nearly as effective by cupping my hands around the phone like some miniature organic satellite dish.

As to Suldog's inquiry, I understand that Apple is releasing a device soon that will enable people to only leave their bathrooms for nourishment. Version 2.0 might take care of that need as well.

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